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Pope John Paul II and Pope Paul XXIII, two of the most beloved recent leaders of the Catholic Church, will become saints in the first ever joint canonization ceremony on April 27. Pope Francis I approved of the ceremony back in July.
According to the BBC, Francis approved of John Paul becoming a saint after her confirmed a second miracle that could be attributed to his predecessor. The Polish John Paul lead the church from 1978 until his death in 2005. He is credited with helping inspire opposition to communism in Europe during the Cold War and was known for making trips around the world.
When John Paul died, thousands packed St. Peter's Square to chant, “Santo subito,” as many wanted to see the popular pope become a saint, notes CBS News.
John was known as ‘the good pope’ and was pope from 1958 to 1963. He is considered a progressive figure, having brought together the Second Vatican Council. Francis decided to make an exception for John, who only has one miracle attributed to him.
This move is unusual, but the Guardian notes that many observers see Francis as having much in common with John.
“Vatican II was a re-reading of the gospel in light of contemporary culture,” Francis said in his interview with a Jesuit magazine about the Second Vatican Council. “Vatican II produced a renewal movement that simply comes from the same gospel. Its fruits are enormous. Just recall the liturgy. The work of liturgical reform has been a service to the people as a re-reading of the gospel from a concrete historical situation.”
The ceremony will also be attended by Pope Emeritus Benedict.
image: President Bill Clinton with Pope John Paul II/Wikimedia Commons